Whether it’s a good or bad thing for AT&T, mobile data usage is skyrocketing on its network. While it’s not good on network capacity, it’s more than helping the company’s bottom line. During the first quarter of this year, mobile data revenue was up nearly $1 billion.
AT&T’s wireless data revenues surged $947 million to $4.1 billion during Q1, up 29.8% over last year’s Q1. Postpaid subscriber ARPU (annual revenue per user) grew 3.9% over the year-earlier quarter to $61.89–the fifth consecutive quarter AT&T has posted a year-over-year increase in postpaid ARPU.
Postpaid data ARPU reached $20.13, up 21.9 percent over Q1 2009. SMS increased by more than 50% compared to Q1 2009, growing to more than 143 billion, and multimedia messages more than doubled to about 2.4 billion. AT&T says its wireless data revenues have nearly doubled over the past two years.
Starting with the iPhone, and now with the iPad, AT&T keeps loading its network full of Web-heavy devices. Though they’ve paid for it via network capacity issues, it’s paying off in terms of mobile data revenue. All wireless companies now know that mobile data is the future revenue machine, replacing voice ARPU, and that steps need to be taken to lure consumers to their networks via new-age Web-enabled devices. AT&T has certainly done a good job making that happen, even though Apple has helped out considerably.